Judicial Profile: Department 29
Honorable Bruce Mills

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Biographical Information
Date of Birth:
August 31, 1957
Education:
B.S. University of Oregon (1981)
Law School: Lewis & Clark Law School, J.D. (1984)
Judicial Experience
Judge, Municipal Court, Walnut Creek-Danville Judicial District, Contra Costa County. Appointed [succeeding Judge Barbara Zuniga, elected to the Superior Court] by Governor Wilson July 13, 1995, and elected in subsequent election. Succeeded to Superior Court upon unanimous written consent of a majority of judges in the county to convert all Municipal Courts to Superior Courts effective June 8, 1998. Re-elected to the Superior Court in 2002 and 2008.
Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities
member of the Contra Costa Bar Assn.; member of the California District Attorneys Assn.; member of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Contra Costa County Board of Directors from 1991 to 1995.
Courtroom Policies
Standard [i.e. Generally rules from the bench.].
Teleconferencing
Is allowed for CMC and OSC, upon approval by written request.
Motions
Standard [i.e. they must be briefed within appropriate time limits.].
Briefs
Standard [i.e. they must provide a clear factual statement and arguments must be supported by legal authority.].
Discovery
Standard [discovery must be provided in accordance with local rules and statutory authority.].
Settlement Conferences
Handles his own settlement conferences.
In Limine Motions
Standard [i.e. court encourages to streamline proceedings].
Voir Dire
Standard [the court conducts a general voir dire and then allows counsel a limited period of time to conduct a more specific voir dire.
Witnesses
Standard [i.e. all witness lists must be provided to the court and counsel in advance of voir dire].
Sanctions
Sanctions will be imposed, if necessary, but rarely.
Documents
Standard [i.e. all documents must be pre-marked and shown to opposing counsel before being shown to any witness.].
Decorum
Standard [i.e. attorneys should conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and courteous manner at all times.].
Court Reporters & Translators
Judge Mills has an assigned court reporter. Translators are called on an as-needed basis. Translators are available to support the large numbers of foreign languages spoken within this jurisdiction.
Computers in the Courtroom
Permitted.
Audio-visual
Permitted.
Cameras in the Courtroom
General cameras will be permitted, unless one of 13 factors enumerated by California Rules of Court rule 980, such as preserving the privacy rights of the participants in the case or the effect of the cameras on the parties’ ability to obtain an impartial jury, justify excluding the cameras. .
Advice
80% of Judge Mills’ docket pertains to criminal law. According to Judge Mills, criminal law encompasses a finite, largely unchanging body of law. Judge Mills strongly encourages attorneys appearing in his court to refer to the criminal law treatises, which will provide a roadmap of the leading legal authority on a given criminal law issue.

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